PSE electrifies new transmission lines in Ebey Slough basin

Project rebuilt lines to enhance regional electric reliability and wetland habitat

BELLEVUE, Wash. (Oct. 23, 2008) – Puget Sound Energy today announced the ahead of schedule completion of a $15 million rebuild of high-voltage electric transmission lines in Snohomish County’s Ebey Slough basin. Designed to enhance the safety and reliability of the regional high-voltage electric transmission system and the Snohomish County designated Ebey Slough wetland habitat, the project consisted of replacing 80 old wood transmission poles with 15 new steel poles and stringing 2.5 miles of new 115 kilovolt (kV) and 230 kV transmission lines.

Transporting power between Canada and the southern border of PSE’s service area, the Ebey Slough transmission lines also provide year-round benefits to the regional electrical systems of Snohomish County PUD, Seattle City Light, and the Bonneville Power Administration.

“Replacing the Ebey Slough poles and transmission lines is not only a major accomplishment for improving the reliability of PSE’s transmission infrastructure, it’s critical to the stability of the region’s entire electric transmission system,” said Sue McLain, senior vice president of operations for PSE. “The project completion is a celebration of cooperation and hard work between the county, state, tribes, agencies and the local residents and supports work by Snohomish County to reclaim more than 230 acres of estuary for flood control and critical salmon and wildlife habitat.”

The project paves the way for Snohomish County to enhance Ebey Slough, providing habitat for eagles, blue heron, weasels, beavers, otters, egrets, and three threatened species – Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout. With 80-90 percent of historical estuary gone from the Snohomish River basin, this is significant preservation, noted McLain.

Driven by the changing environment of Ebey Slough and the December 2006 windstorm that knocked over poles weakened by the standing water that is now there, the new poles and transmission lines were constructed between May and October on water-resistant foundations along the same alignment using swamp buggies and Sky Crane helicopters. The old transmission lines, supported by wood H-frame structures built in the 1960s, were not designed to be in water. The resulting deterioration created line stability problems. In some cases, anchors and guy wires had pulled out of the soft, saturated soils resulting in unstable structures that were not anchored in load-bearing soil.

Construction of the transmission lines was completed ahead of schedule. Dike access, which was closed during construction, will re-open on Oct. 31.

For more information about PSE infrastructure projects throughout the region, please visit


Gretchen Aliabadi, 1.888.831.7250

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state’s oldest and largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service territory stretching across 11 counties, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) serves more than 1 million electric customers and 737,000 natural gas customers. PSE, a subsidiary of Puget Energy (NYSE:PSD), meets the energy needs of its growing customer base primarily in Western Washington through incremental, cost-effective energy conservation, low-cost procurement of sustainable energy resources, and far-sighted investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure. PSE employees are dedicated to providing great customer service to deliver energy that is safe, reliable, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible.